December 26, 2017 Subject:
A long-ago commenter asked about the original tempo of Sousa's marches. First, it's simpler than it seems - a march should be played at a marching tempo, which was probably about 120 bpm back then. As a youth, I marched at 128 in a marching band in the 1960s, but the old veterans in parades couldn't keep up. Second, Tempo di marche was used on sheet music back in the day, and it was used for songs that were also called dance tunes, so we know approximately what that tempo was. Finally, Sousa himself used words like 'stirring' for his marches, so I doubt they could have been played at a stately rate.
March 31, 2016 Subject:
"Stars and Striped Forever!" is so awesome!
Wow, I just want to say that this song makes me feel so patriotic of my homeland, the great U.S.A. (Excellent Job, Sousa!) Well, since this song is so great (to me), I rate it a 5-star! XD
April 18, 2009 Subject:
Original speed of Sousa's band
One thing you don't hear on these recordings is the speed at which the marches were originally played, if the following story is true.
Many years ago while I was a full time French Horn player in New York I played a gig with a guy who once knew a very old clarinet player who had played in Sousa's band.
The clarinet player told my friend (wish I could remember his name,) that the marches were once played much slower. But then along came records and they had to squeeze them on to the size of the record, so they sped them up. Consequently forever after everyone thought that's the way the marches were supposed to be played, and to this day all marches are played "too fast."
If you think about it, a band playing a march at the "post record" modern speed would get very tired, not to mention a marching army.
Try it yourself: Next time you are out for a walk at a normal pace sing or whistle a Sousa march at the speed you are walking. You will be amazed at how beautiful and stately they are. Someday I hope a band will specialize in playing them the "right" way.
I can't prove this story, but I am convinced it is true.
I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
email me at:
Dover, New Hampshire
originally from Cincinnati, Ohio
June 3, 2006 Subject:
Sousa's band without Sousa
Sousa did not usually conduct the recording sessions. Arthur Pryor, the gifted trombonist, usually conducted the recording sessions. But in these recordings you may hear Pryor, Herbert Clarke on cornet, and other fine musicians of the band, and the dynamics, phrasing, and extra fluorishes are probably well representative of what one would have heard in concert in that era. Outstanding.
March 2, 2006 Subject:
Very nice collection of great interest to Sousa fans.
August 19, 2005 Subject:
A Musical Treasure
I have played the Music of Sousa for more then 30 years. To hear the orginal works as directed and played by the Sousa band is priceless. The Quality of these recordings are amazing considering their age. To hear the orignal meter, phrasing, and dynamics of these original recording is extremely important to anyone who is a bandsmen, and enjoys playing music of Sousa. I will repeat these are priceless